Select Page

I have learned to be very, very suspicious of any legislative action in New Hampshire that tosses around the word “liberty” – the term has been tainted by self-described libertarians who use it to mean “let me do whatever I want even if it hurts you” and 9 times out of 10 it involves taking a useful public service and letting private companies have complete control of it.

However, sometimes its more complicated. Case in point: HB1482 which says that “the state of New Hampshire shall not prohibit, restrict, or regulate the private sale, purchase, use, possession, or donation of human blood or organs in the state.” Supporters rely heavily on the “liberty” argument: it’s our body and we should be able to sell pieces of it if we want.

This may or may not be a good idea but it’s not a crazy one. There has long been a debate about whether donors should be paid for donating organs such as kidneys (it’s illegal under federal law). Here’s a BBC story but you can find a lot more online.

The argument, of course, is that payment would be a way to ease a serious shortage in such organs. The counter-argument is that it’s a slippery ethical slope that could easily end up in poor people being harvested to keep the rich healthy. The same arguments apply in paying for blood donors.

Both arguments are legitimate, at least to some extent. Personally, I am torn. It’s an interesting idea that deserves public debate.

Pin It on Pinterest